Published: March 4, 2014
Pakistan won a nailbiting match against host Bangladesh by three wickets in today’s Asia Cup match at Mirpur Stadium and secured its position in the final match of the tournament.
A windy slog of 59 runs off only 24 deliveries by Shahid Afridi, 70 runs off 74 balls by middle-order Fawad Alam and a strong piledriver-innings by Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad of 103 runs off 123 balls took the visitors to victory.
Pakistan reached the target with only one ball remaining.
Spinner Mominul Haque picked up two wickets while Shakib Al Hasan, Abdur Razzak and Mahmudullah picked one wicket each.
Bangladesh piled up 326 runs, their highest against Pakistan to pose an intimidating total in a must-win Asia Cup match at Sher-e Bangla Stadium in Mirpur today.
Anamul Haque Bijoy was the architect of Tigers’ massive total, smashing 100 runs of 132 balls with six fours and four sixes.
His 150-run opening partnership with Imrul Kayes set the platform for Bangladesh’s total in which the latter contributed with 59.
After Imrul departed, Mominul supported Bojoy with a run-a-ball 51.
The late blitz was set up by a returning Shakib Al Hasan and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, who blasted 44 and 51 off just 16 and 33 balls respectively.
Pakistan bowlers took an universal pounding, particularly Saeed Ajmal, whose last four overs disappeared for 52 runs.
Earlier, Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and elected to bat.
The match is a must-win for Bangladesh, who have an outside chance to go to the Asia Cup 2014 final if they will win with a bonus point today.
Pakistan, on the other hand, need to simply win the match, which will secure a berth in the final for them against Sri Lanka, who have already qualified.
The Tigers overhauled their regular team with five changes due to a massive number of injuries as Tamim Iqbal, Mashrafe Mortaza and Sohag Gazi, have all been ruled out of the Asia Cup due to injury.
Naeem Islam, Abdur Razzak, Shamsur Rahman, Rubel Hossain and Arafat Sunny were also dropped due to lack of form.
Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Shafiul Islam and Al-Amin Hossain made it into the squad for today’s match.
However, the biggest boost for Bangladesh will be the return of ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who comes back into the squad after a three-match ban for indecent gesture on live television.
Pakistan made two changes to their squad from the previous match – an epic battle against India which they won by one wicket.
Fawad Alam replaced injured Sharjeel Khan, while Abdur Rehman came into the squad in place of rested Junaid Khan.
Bangladesh came into the match on the back of a string of losses against the likes of India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, with behind the curtain controversies also surrounding them.
In recent interviews, captain Mushfiq has openly criticized some of the players for their lack of commitment to the team.
The last match between the two sides was the 2012 Asia Cup final, which Bangladesh lost by two runs.
Imrul Kayes, Anamul Haque, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Ziaur Rahman, Mahmudullah, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain
Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Talha, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman